Agency of the U.S. Law and Legal Definition

Agencies of the United States government refer to those agencies that exist outside of the federal executive departments. Most of the independent agencies are part of the executive branch. Only few are part of legislative or judicial branches.

The agencies are established through separate statutes that are passed by Congress. The statutory grant of authority defines the goals and the substantive areas over which the agencies have power to make rules. The rules made by the agencies have the power of federal law while in force.

The nature and purpose of independent agencies vary widely. While some are regulatory agencies with powers to supervise certain sectors of the economy others provide special services either to the government or to the people. In most cases, the agencies have been created by Congress to deal with matters that have become too complex for the scope of ordinary legislation. For example Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is charged with the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts.

The Administrative Procedure Act establishes the protocols for agency rulemaking and decisions in agency enforcement proceedings.

The director or administrator or secretary of the agencies are appointed by the President of the U.S. Agencies also have a commission or board consisting of five to seven members who share power over the agency.

The following are a few examples of U.S government agencies.

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF). This is a federal agency funding state, territory, local, and tribal organizations to provide family assistance (welfare), child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). This is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based in Atlanta, Georgia. ATSDR serves the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances.

The following is an example of a Federal Statute defining the term:

Pursuant to 22 USCS § 2403 (a) [Title 22. Foreign Relations And Intercourse; Chapter 32. Foreign Assistance; General And Administrative Provisions; Miscellaneous Provisions], the term agency of the United States Government includes “any agency, department, board, wholly or partly owned corporation, instrumentality, commission, or establishment of the United States Government.”